March 11, 2016

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billy & jack....jack & billy.....love

the most perfectly timed gift....
so, 5 years ago, march 9...i flew back from paris to portland to put billy down. i was away for work and was called that he had stepped wrong and had a massive disk rupture that shattered 3 vertebrae and that he would be paralyzed. so much more but, the decision was simple.... not walking or running was not the way billy lived nor would i want him to live that way.
that being said....it was the hardest thing i have ever done because you want to believe in a miracle. you don't want to say bye to the thing that gives you the most joy. the one that always makes you smile even when they piss you off. 23 hours (lord....missed connections....) i hoped and hoped and cried for a miraculous recovery or a medical mistake. i didn't get my wish.
those last moments together i wouldn't trade. oddly, i do feel there is a beauty & dignity is seeing someone/something off to the next place. many of us never get that chance. usually death is unexpected. i had 23 hours to prepare....it was not enough. 
the overwhelming sadness. the tears....the failed hope. it's so so so much to process. i remember when left alone with him, singing and talking and crying that he, though in pain & on pain killers layed there and licked my hand trying to calm me. sweet sweet boy.
i miss you all the time.
*a sweet gift from vivian
my heart broken & my soul gutted. i just wanted to move. not be in the house we lived in with all the memories. i wanted a new place, new energy and something completely different.
i decided on colorado. i had been a total of 36 hours and figured what could be more different. i don't ski. i wear 5" heels. i do love nature and well it's cold so sweaters would be needed. 6 weeks later i rented out my home and found an apartment on craig's list in basalt, co. 
a few weeks after i said bye to billy some friends talked about this amazing group of labs in lake oswego and how i should get one. i was not ready. a friend mentioned a few times and was insistent that i just go see them. i said no.
she sent photos...i never opened them. i just wasn't ready.
2 weeks before moving to colorado she emailed again saying they still have the one that's yours. mine? what? i finally opened the photo attachment and that was the beginning of a still unfolding story.
i called the people and asked if they still had puppies. she said yes and said your friend has told us for weeks you were coming. i got in the car, drove the 40 minutes telling myself....you aren't ready for this.
pulled up and parked and the woman said, the one your friend likes for you is a bit skittish but he's so sweet and really does relax if he feels safe.  
within seconds of meeting 'thor' (nope he was a jack!) he crawled up my arm & into my cashmere (of course) sleeve. yes, he snuggled half on my shoulder and part in my arm pit. sniffs a bit and lets out a big sigh and falls asleep. yep, not skittish at all.
here's the beautiful gift part.... turns out jack was born on the day i put billy down. the two of them are so funny. where jack is a devil billy was an angel. where billy was a devil jack is an angel. perhaps, billy has come back to show he finally did learn to play well with others :) 
anyways, i waited the two weeks and picked up jack the night before i was moving to colorado. he was so sweet from day 1 and potty trained within the day. LOVE. 
my friend lynn stopped by with her daughter lola and gave jack this 'stuffie'. he STILL has this and treats is so well. it's rather amazing that it looks brand new. he sleeps with it, and takes it outside...loves his stuffie.
so, we head out on our 17 hour drive and first part we do in 12 hours and jack whimpers 3 times and each time i pull over, he pees and gets back in the car and sleeps. amazing.
we make it to basalt and spend the next 10 days opening my store. jack, thank you.... because you were/are so damn cute that i met so many people. the perfect shop dog.
jack and i loved our new mountain life. short hours (this was a short lived experience but worth mentioning!), tons of sunshine, walks, hikes and play time with other dogs. 
it's funny to remember how tiny he was.
 this is back when he loved the bath.
in the end, i owe so much of my happiness to my sweet south central shelter dog billy brown. a mix of chow, rottweiler & shepherd. a tough bruiser who was born in the shelter and scheduled for his exit. if it wasn't for his terrible departure on march 9 i probably wouldn't have left portland. i was no longer happy there and wanted/needed a change but so many things i was tied too.
some favorite memories involved billy and babies. taking baby colette's sock off and licking her feet making her giggle while mama melany was a bit nervous she'd lose a foot. he loved babies. another time, at 100+ lbs my friend jude was breast feeding nico who was at most a couple of months old and billy jumped on the couch and laid across judes lap and snuggled up to the two of them. always the protector.
  the move to colorado was the best decision i've ever made.
in the end, billy protected me by bringing jack into my life.
 
here's the beauty in the never ending cycle of life and death...
the day i had to put billy down jack was born. same year, same day. 
magic.
my reason for telling this long story is:
FIND THE BEAUTY IN EVERYTHING....EVEN THE SAD & DIFFICULT
xo
suzisouchi

Suzanne Johnson
Suzanne Johnson

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1 Comment

Cristina
Cristina

April 28, 2016

Sweet story. “Your friend has told us for weeks you were coming.” You have an exceptional friend.

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